1) When someone sets up a songwriting appointment, who determines who is going to be part of the session and where the writing session is going to be held? Now that you are not on the road, you can concentrate more on your writing.
Yes I can, and that’s exactly what I have been trying to do. I can’t speak for other writers, but in my case there is no one-size-fits-all answer to your questions. Sometimes I’ll run into a fellow songwriter at lunch or at an event somewhere and one of us will ultimately say, “Hey, let’s get together and write one,” and we’ll start searching our calendars to see when we might have a matching open date somewhere. Sometimes my publisher will reach out…or a co-writer’s publisher will call…and tell me a certain writer wants to co-write with me. In my case, I feel comfortable writing almost anywhere, so I usually let my co-writer choose the location. Many have their own in-home studios these days, and I have no problem going to their happy place…as long as they have a coffee maker! Part of the fun in co-writing is setting it up and watching it all come together. Then hoping that a good song manages to fall out.
2) You have been wearing the same ring on your left hand for years. What is the story behind it?
The ring on my left hand really doesn’t have a story. I bought it years ago at a jewelry store in the Caribbean when I was on one of my first country music cruises. The one on my right hand, however, which I have been wearing since 1975, is part of a much larger story. It is a gold ring with a solitaire diamond and the Grand Ole Opry logo on one side with the WSM Radio logo on the other. It was given to me…and one just like it to the other male members of the Opry…in 1975 to help commemorate the Opry’s 50th birthday. Our initials were engraved inside.The women were given beautiful gold bracelets, and we were told that the jeweler who designed both the rings and the bracelets had the molds destroyed so that no replicas could ever be made. I don’t have many material possessions that mean a lot to me, but my Opry ring definitely does.
3) I saw a portion of one of your TV shows from back in the sixties when Tammy Wynette, my all-time favorite, was a guest. During her performance, a young back-up vocalist came up to the microphone to share the spotlight with Tammy. It was obvious that Tammy was not pleased with that. Was that common in those days? Did stars like that idea?
I think you mis-read the look on Tammy’s face. She was not displeased at all. The young girl was Tammy’s step-daughter, and Tammy had invited her to appear on the show. It was early in Tammy’s career, but she was already trying to help someone else establish a career of their own. I interpreted it as a very generous gesture on Tammy’s part.
Thank you. I found the most challenging part of hosting a game show was trying to keep my mind in three places at once…the past, the present, and the future. I had to remember what had just happened while anticipating what might be about to happen. Depending on what the contestant said or did, I had to be ready to perform Task A or Task B or go in a completely different direction and perform Task C. It required a lot of intense concentration, and was daunting and terrifying to me at first. Once I settled into it, though, and began to feel comfortable in my role, I loved it. Thank you for saying I did a good job. I grew to really enjoy it, and wouldn’t take anything for having had the experience.
Quickies: I have noticed recently some of your older albums appearing on Facebook. Can these albums be bought straight from you? I don’t like downloads…I like to have the hard copies so I can read the credits. I understand where you are coming from, but welcome to today’s world of streaming. I’m afraid these new digital releases are for downloading purposes only. I don’t think “hard copies” will even be manufactured. We will not be offering any of these through our online store. Sorry. Wish we could. I was recently watching one of the CFR Old Time Gospel DVDs and was wondering if anyone had ever been saved during one of those shows you televised. No, not that I know of. Most of the artists who took part in those very special shows were already Christians and were simply sharing their faith through their music and testimony. I enjoy reading the questions and answers your newsletter. My question is: Did you know David Houston and ever work with him? I listened to him as a teen-ager and always enjoyed his singing. Thank you. I knew David fairly well, toured with him on occasion, and worked with him a lot on the Grand Ole Opry. Following his smash hit, “Almost Persuaded,” in 1966, for the next several years there was no hotter artist in country music than David. He had a style all his own and contributed greatly to our musical format. Do you know if the Opry has a dress code? If they do, I didn’t get the memo.
Thanks for your questions this month…just wish we had space to get to them all. We’ll do it again in November, so send me any questions you might have. You can e-mail me at email@example.com or send snail mail to me at P.O. Box 888, Hermitage, Tennessee, 37076. Provide us with our Question Of The Month and you’ll win any item of merchandise you’d like absolutely free from our online store. See you next month…